Barbara Mahler is a choreographer, performer, movement educator, body worker; a master teacher of and major contributor to Klein Technique™, faculty and certified practitioner of Zero Balancing. She holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee – 2007. CLICK HERE…..On-going Classes in NYC.
June 2016 interview with Dance Enthusiast~
Barbara Mahler on the Intersection of Choreography and Teaching
Performance Mix Festival
Abrons Art Center
June 6-11, 2016
Mahler performs on Thursday, June 9 in Abron’s Experimental Theater at 7PM
Tickets are $20 (or free admission where indicated online) and can be purchased online at http://www.abronsartscenter.org or by calling 212-352-3101.
Performer, choreographer and educator Barbara Mahler returns to the Performance Mix Festival with her solo IT OcCurS to mE. Mahler has known festival founder Karen Bernard for years, beginning when they shared their work in the same program in the ‘70s. They continued to bump into one another in their Tribeca neighborhood where they both lived and worked at that time.
The two came together again this past May when they revived one of Bernard’s works Vinyl Retro (1999) for a Dance and Process performance at The Kitchen. “It was rare for both of us,” Bernard says. “For me, to be working with someone and for her to be dancing in another person’s work.”
“I was on another planet,” Mahler says with a chuckle. Bernard’s dances are peppered with props and video while Mahler is drawn to work where the body alone is the focal point. Despite their contrasting approach, the two veterans had great fun working together.
Mahler didn’t grow up dancing like her counterpart. Instead, she stumbled upon it while studying at Hunter College. “I walked into the dance club which was on Wednesday afternoons. There was Dorothy [Vislocky] and her infamous drum.”
She soon enrolled as a dance major, taking any classes available. It was at Hunter where she first learned of Susan Klein’s Klein Technique™ through Vislocky — both of whom had a deep impact on Mahler.
After graduation she began studying at the Klein/Barry Studio while working a host of jobs including as a bank teller and house cleaner. “The technique was the only thing that gave me a language that I could understand myself as a mover,” she says.
Today, she continues to teach in the Klein Technique tradition in New York and abroad, describing it as “an original method of developing movement and posture through deep understanding of skeletal and muscular structure of the body and its expressive possibilities.”
The venerable artist has trained hundreds of dancers and non-dancers while continuing to create solos and dances for small groups that are pregnant with nuance and skill. She spoke with The Dance Enthusiast about how her teaching and choreographic life intersect. Here is an excerpt from the conversation.
Trina Mannino for The Dance Enthusiast: What parallels, if any, do you find in your teaching and choreography?
Barbara Mahler: All of my work and research in the realm of re-educating my own body has laid a foundation for me… My teaching, in turn, inspired my dancing and choreographic life. In the beginning of my dance making, I was choreographing mostly solos. And those dances were usually too hard for me. I was constantly challenging myself to get better.
TDE: Does Klein Technique™ influence your choreographic process?
BM: I’m not sure it informs my process, but the work is in my body which is what I use to create the movement. I work best with people and dancers who have studied with me. There is a particular clarity that I look for, self-understanding and grounded-ness [that comes from studying the technique].
TDE: How has your choreographic work evolved?
BM: It started off being more emotional, simple and sparse. I went through a narrative period. It’s continued to grow technically, but it supports the simplicity and preciseness of my early work. At its best, it develops slowly.
TDE: Over the years, you’ve taught hundreds of dancers and non-dancers. In what ways, has “taking class” changed?
BM: Taking class has gone through many phases; from being a purely physical practice to a conceptual practice. Yoga, Pilates and weight training have had strong influence on dancers. Financial stresses have created more teachers in the dance community for that kind of work, and in turn, have affected the bodies and minds of many — which is neither good nor bad. Survival has become more and more difficult.
The time for the development of work is not as available and so the artistic process has changed for many to accommodate these real life situations. In some ways, I see the mind and intellect has — at the present time — a stronger emphasis than the body or the spirit.
Barbara received a 2013 BAX 10 AWARD in Arts Education.
|As well as choreographing and teaching, she maintains a private practice in hands on body work, using the techniques and principles of Zero Balancing, Connective Tissue Therapy, and others, working with injury rehabilitation and prevention; movement re education and coordination. She is senior faculty and certified practitioner of Zero Balancing (www.zerobalancing.com). As a movement educator, has been an ongoing faculty member with Movement Research NYC since 2004, teaching group classes aimed towards the improvement of coordination, alignment and general physical well-being. Barbara was the motor of the Susan Klein School of Dance 1983-2002, to quote Dianne Madden, artistic director for TBDC. Movement Research continues to provide a home base for all aspects of her research. Barbara’s viewpoint of the well-functioning person/body is grounded in her long – standing work in the dance and movement field. Her major and most consistent sources of information have come from the study and teaching of Klein Technique and Zero Balancing, along with the perspectives and insights gained from re-educating her own body. Her continuing curiosity about the body, movement, perception, and learning fuels all aspects of her work – performance, teaching, choreography. Contemporary dance techniques, composition, improvisation, choreography and performance have all played major roles in the focus and experience of her work. Her small and intimate dances/choreography have been presented across the globe – Chile, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and many venues in New York, as well as across the US. Barbara was an ongoing guest faculty with of the Danish National School of Theater and Contemporary Dance, 1994-2015.|
Next Performances – October 1 Santiago, Chile and October 18 and 23 “Queensboro Dance Festvial” http://www.queensborodancefestival.com
Please join me for the Movement Research Dance at the Judson Church 25 Anniversary on Monday September 12 as I perform a work created by Karen Bernard
“IT OcCurS to mE”
Choreography, performance and costume: Barbara Mahler
“.Profoundly physical exploration of a defining moment.”created with support from NDA summer 2015 LIFT OFF residency program, and Movement Research. September and October performances created, with additional support from the Dance Gallery/66 Allen Street
photo Alfred Cardenas
TAIWAN..June 30-July 3 contact email@example.com: http://www.horse.org.tw.
To be repeated in April 2017
SUMMER MELT with Movement Research August 8-12 2016 10-12AM at St. Marks Church in the Bowery www.movementresearch.org
Santiago CHILE! September 28- October 2 2016
photo: Julie Lemberger.
I received my BA from Hunter College, under the tutelage of Dorothy Vislocky, NYC, and my MFA from University of Milwaukee/Wisconsin in 2007. I was an artist in Residence with Movement Research for the 2003-04, and 2006 -08 seasons. Movement Research continues to provide a home base for the development of my artistic visions and products. Internationally, my choreographic work has received support from the Arts Council in Montreal, Canada; Danse Alliensen in Sweden (Stockholm and Gothenburg) and the Cultural Arts Ministry in Chile. I was a recipient of a Sage Cowle Land Grant, and part of the first solo dance artist residency at The Yard (an artist’s colony in Chilmark, Mass.), as well as part of the first summer dance intensive at Ohio State University The 92 Street Y Harkness Dance Center and the Hunter College Dance Alum Consortium have supported my work for many years with space grants, and I was a LIFT-OFF summer residency recipient in 2015. . I have been guest artist/teacher at Hunter College, NYC, 2000-11 and am an adjunct evaluator at SUNY Empire State College. Since 1977, I have been an avid student, becoming a master teacher of as well of a contributor to Klein Technique, applying the principles to dance and movement from all points of view. In the mid ‘80s. I began creating intimate solo dances for large and small spaces
expanding to trios and duets; all with the earmark of, textures within time and space, portraits and non-linear stories. My work has been presented both nationally and internationally, and most recently received was a BAX 2013 Artists in progress award in Arts Education, accepted for EMERGE 2014, and was a member of LEAP 2011-12, a Queens Arts Council Program supporting development of vision, artistic products and process. Most recently I received a choreographic residency from the CAVE, Williamsburg, NY, a commission for student dance work at Wilson College,PA; and a grant to reset work on Clancy Dance in Silver Springs, MD, both spring 2015. I was a space grant recipient summer 2015 from LIFT-OFF, NYC . My upcoming projects include travels to Taiwan, and Santiago, Chile.
My choreographic passion is the solo dance, for my self and others, followed by intimate dances for two and three’s. Movement, from my body, is my primary medium and draws my life experiences and artistic exposure, creating dances of clarity and intention.
My interest, my passion, is the body – the limitless possibilities of the body as an expressive instrument, to carry a story, create an environment. My passion is the Solo Dance, but love creating duets and trios; intimate dances for large and small spaces. I think of my dances as being in dialogue with the spaces in which they are created and/or performed, and for each particular audience. Current theories of physics, and the writings of Deeprok Chopra, Joseph Campbell, and others, teach us that nothing exists alone; that all things can only exist in relationship. This is the way I approach and view my work. Dances are always given a new life with each audience in each new environment or performance. Although all dances are created to realize a particular form or shape, to convey an event, fulfill a concept, I view, and create my dances with the premise that they are innately possessed of a spontaneity and flexibility that give rise to various interpretations and meanings. Solos in particular, in the absence of other dancers, call upon the interpreter/ dancer’s inner dialogue as primary tools in creating and maintaining a relationship between themselves and the audience, while the dance itself creates the structure for the communication. The audience, an assortment of individuals, come together in what I think of as a collective vision. The audience collective can affect the outcome and the interpretation; of what is being presented on the canvas. The relationships thus created are with the self, the audience and the space, and, in the case of duos and trios, other performers. Although I know what my dances are, they acquire new life in each different circumstance. I mold and craft my dances in detail and design, and in paradox, aim for spontaneity and immediacy. My current trajectory includes but is not limited to rigorous improvisational and collaborative process in rehearsals and performance. Deborah Jowitt of the Village Voice wrote the following about a concert of my work, presented by Danspace Project at St. Mark’ Church – :“Barbara Mahler roots her choreography in distillation, as if she aims to extract the essence of her ideas, making them calmer and purer. Struggle is subdued, climax minimized….intriguing ways she blends delicacy and strength and skews familiar movements.”
http://youtu.be/ThPi7IbAeXY “Precipice” at Green Space 2015
Kathee Miller….ArtBark Santa Barbara, CA
http://youtu.be/IG4arzHWEro WHEN SHE STUMBLES 2013 at The Flea, NYC
http://youtu.be/l9u0Y8tQLo4 – click here for the duetted WHEN SHE STUMBLES…..with Jamie Graham, Alissa Horowitz and Barbara Mahler -solo and duet presented in process at Judson Church as part of the Movement Research Presenting Series January 2013
RECENT PAST : September 20i5 ….ISREAL with Yasmeen Godder and Company; Minneapolis, MN; BERLIN @ Schwelle 7 – VIENA, Austria; Limerick, Ireland;LONDON @ Independent Dance.-HORSE, Tawain; MPLS
“I was an artist in Residence with Movement Research for the 2003-04, and 2006 -08 seasons. My choreographic work has received support from Meet the Composer, and the Arts Council in Montreal, Canada; the Cultural Arts Ministry in Chile. I was a recipient of a Sage Cowles Land Grant, and part of the first solo dance artist residency at The Yard (an artist’s colony in Chilmark, Mass.) I received a choreographic research grant from the International Dance Programme in Gothenburg, Sweden, and a residency from the CAVE, Williamsburg, NY. I was a member of LEAP 2011-12, a Queens Arts Council Program supporting development of vision, artistic products and process. My work has also been supported by the 92 Street Y Harkness Dance Center and the Hunter College Dance Alum Consortium for many years.
|I am a proud mother.|
My students include/have included dancers from all backgrounds, styles and aesthetic viewpoints – Trisha Brown, Stephen Petronio, Neil Greenberg, Wally Cardona, Molly Leiber, Lily Gold, Donna Costello, Lily Baldwin, Jeremy Nelson, Yasmeen Godder, Fabio Travares Da Silva, Gerald Cassel, Johanna Hegenshcheildt (Berlin), Diane Madden, Karin Jameson (Sweden), Jannine Rivel (Sweden), Rebecca Alson-Milkman, Sally Rhoades, Luis Lara, Megan Sipe, Athena Malloy, Rachel Thorne Germond, Cara Heerdt, Ted Johnson, Jessica Winograd, Joanna Kotze, Jamie Chandler, Kyle de Camp, Nami Yamamoto, Nancy Allison, Kay Ottinger, Sarah Lass, Jamie Graham, Alissa Lazaro, Fara Greenbaum, Francis Stansky, Chrysa Parkinson, Omagbitse Omagbemi, Brian Gerke,Jody Melnick, Steinunn Ketilsdottir, Tatyana Tenenbaum, Leslie Satin, Jeremy Laverdure,- too many wonderful dancers and people to mention.